Fisher unveils new feminist art display
An exploration of identity comes to campus in the traveling exhibit âA Complex Weave: Women and Identity in Contemporary Art,â now on display until Dec. 1 at the USC Fisher Museum of Art.
Inspired by feminist art, the exhibit brings together more than 40 works by 16 women artists to âthrow some additional light on the complex weave of gender and identity in contemporary art,â said co-curator Martin Rosenberg, professor of art history at Rutgers University.
Nearly three years old, the exhibit, curated by Rosenberg and Dr. J. Susan Isaacs, professor of art history at Towson University, arrived at USC through the services of Curatorial Assistance, a company that manages travelingÂ exhibitions worldwide.
The unique variety of works focus on topics of ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, culture, geography and religion. The intricate connections between these facets of identity are shown through film photography, video production, sculpture, embroidery, installation and metalwork. Displayed together, they carry strong messages for the global feminist movement of today.
The exhibit also showcases the diversity of the artists themselves.
âItâs a women-embrace-art kind of showcase,â Fisherâs Education and Programs Coordinator Vanessa Jorion said. âThere are no two artists who really come from the same place. You have everything from Chinese, Japanese, Moroccan, New Yorker and religious-wise â Orthodox Jewish and Hindu from India. Itâs all about how these women bring these aspects of identity to their art, how itâs woven together, united in a sense of not defining identity but how they showcase their identity.â
In âAngel Island Shhh,â Chinese-American artist Flo Oy Wong illustrates conflicted emotions of growing up in two different cultures through a mixed media of U.S. flags, rice sacks, sequins and thread. In her own distinctive style, Moroccan artist Lalla Essaydi captures the complex reality of the Arab female identity through Islamic calligraphy with representations of the female body.
The exhibit also illustrates how the extraordinary can, at times, emerge from the seemingly mundane.Â African-American artist Sonya Clarkâs âCurls,â
which features ceiling-high strands of curled hairÂ all made from interconnected black combs, dangles in a corner. On the wall opposite, Mexican-American artist Blanka Amezkuaâs embroidery boldly stands out. Through a traditional âfemaleâ craft, Amezkua shatters the images of passive women drawn in the comic books of her childhood, reconstructing them as defiant and physically strong.
âEven though the works are done by women artists, everyone can appreciate it because we all associate with identity,â Jorion said. âYou can walk away with a little appreciation and enlightenment. Thereâs something for everyone to connect with.â
The 16 featured artists include Amezkua, Clark, Oy Wong, Sarah Amos, HelĂšne Aylon, Siona Benjamin, ZoĂ« Charlton, Annet Couwenberg, Essaydi, Judy Gelles, Sharon Harper, Julie Harris, Fujiko Isomura, Tatiana Parcero, Philemona Williamson and April Wood.